Yasmin stood at the door of her cottage watching her beautiful little girl Chloe at play in the garden. What was to become of her? At age five Chloe was already showing the same abilities as herself and more.This was not a world to live in peacefully when you were different. Chloe was showing signs of her mother’s dark exotic beauty, which in itself was also a burden. Yasmin had been pursued relentlessly over the years by men who wanted to possess her and by others who wanted to use her gifts for their own evil ends.Yasmin was an empath and for as long as she could remember she had known what people were feeling. This gift had been passed along from mother to daughter for many generations and just as her mother had taught her how to deal with this gift, so too would she teach Chloe.What concerned Yasmin at the moment was that Chloe was showing signs of the powerful fire magik. She knew there was a need to deal with this immediately, for it could prove to be dangerous in one so young.As she stood watching Chloe, she smiled at how innocent she looked. She wished deep in her heart that she could keep her this way and somehow protect her from all that was to come, and the inevitability of the trials she would experience as her abilities grew.Last night as dusk crept across the land, Yasmin had turned to light the candles as normal, but in the corner of the cottage she was startled to see Chloe gently blow upon one and bring it into life. To Chloe, it was natural that she could do this. How could a five year old have such poise? Yasmin knew she must gather the women of her family and discuss what was to be done. Should they block these abilities until Chloe was older? Or should they try to teach her how to deal with them now?That night after putting Chloe to bed, Yasmin settled into her meditation and sent out the call to her mother, grandmother and her aunt Deane. For all the women in her family had different abilities. Her mother Deborah was her rock. She had helped Yasmin after she and Matram (Chloe’s father) had parted and stayed with her until she was certain that Yasmin could manage her life with a small child on her own. Deborah had a gift with the ways of plants and the making of magikal herbal tinctures. Aunt Dee was a feisty woman not as tall as Yasmin and Deborah and when younger her hair had been a burnished copper and her eyes a vibrant green. She was still feisty although her hair had turned grey but her eyes still shone with life and vitality.Valana, Yasmin’s grandmother and the matriarch of the clan was a tall stout woman. Her now white hair was always pulled back into a bun and her eyes had never lost their piercing blue brightness. Valana had a connection to the fire energies which Yasmin thought Chloe was beginning to exhibit. Perhaps she was going to take after her great grandmother.After contacting the three women she settled down to sleep for there was no point fretting. It would take them several days to arrive and then the decision would be made.Three days passed and just as the sun was setting Deborah, Yasmin’s mother came through the trees to the cottage. Yasmin threw her arms around her mother’s neck. “Thanks mam for coming, Gran and Aunt Dee should be here mid-morning, there is a potential problem with Chloe. She has been asking all day when you would be here. Her talent is astonishing for I didn’t tell her you were coming.”Just then Chloe raced around the corner of the cottage from the back garden and flew into Deborah’s arms. “Grammi, grammi, are you staying with us?”For one so young she spoke very clearly and had a good grasp of all that was said to her. It was with difficulty that they managed to get her to take her nap. She had chattered on about Auntie Dee Dee and Valana her great grandmother and how, when they came, they could all have a party.As Deborah spoke of her amazement at how advanced she was, for it usually wasn’t until they were around seven years old that their gifts began to evolve this much. Yasmin watched her mother and thought how beautiful she was. She must have been so strikingly beautiful when she was younger. Her hair still had traces of chestnut although it was peppered with grey. She had the same deep violet eyes as Yasmin, although Deborah’s were not quite as almond shaped. Deborah had filled out a bit more now than when she was younger, whereas Yasmin was tall and willowy with blue/black hair reaching to her waist.The two women had a very easy relationship. It would be clear to any who saw them together that aside from being mother and daughter, they were true friends with a deep love and respect for each other. They finished their meal and went to sleep early for they knew they would have a full day tomorrow and it was best to wait until they were all together.Deane and Valana arrived mid-morning, Chloe announced their arrival by running and calling their names long before they came through the trees. She was so excited, even though a year had passed since she had seen either of them, she knew exactly who they were. After spending some time with the women Chloe eventually wandered off to play in her beloved garden. Yasmin then described everything she knew Chloe was capable of thus far.“What are we to do? When I saw her blow those candles into life I was so afraid for her. Is she too little yet to use this skill? I don’t really like the idea of blocking her talent, but is the necessary teaching too much for one so young?”As she looked beseechingly to the others, Valana spoke. “It has long been foretold that one of our lineage would far surpass all others in talent. Maybe it is Chloe. For now, I think we ought to spend a few days quietly observing her, we can then decide what is to be done. Remember, her father’s lineage was also strong in the talent, she must certainly have inherited some of their gifts.”Yasmin’s eyes became misty as she remembered Matram. They had loved each other deeply but were not destined to be together. They had met in the local village one market day. Yasmin had gone there with her mother to buy cloth. Matram was there to observe the marketing process. He came from a rich and powerful family and the village was under his family’s jurisdiction. When he saw Yasmin she took his breath away. He asked the local innkeeper to introduce them, not wanting to appear brash and too forward by approaching her himself. When introductions were made he took her hand and she knew he was the one. His tall dark good looks did not matter compared to what she sensed was in his heart. Even though she had a deep and undying love for him, at the time their paths crossed only to bring Chloe into this world.The other women watched Yasmin, feeling her sadness, absorbing as much of it from her as they could, hoping to relieve her of her burden. Apart from Deborah, who was married to Jeremiah, it was the destiny of the Heartford women, thus far, not to remain with their men.The next few days drifted along smoothly, the women spent their time alternating between the garden, playing with Chloe and making salves and tinctures, for they were all healers. On the third night just as dusk was beginning to settle, Chloe went up to the candles and one by one gently blew them into life.All of the women were in awe of the power in Chloe, although they took care not to show her how they were feeling. They sat down to dinner and later the women fussed over Chloe, telling her stories as they prepared her for bed. Once she was sound asleep their discussions began.“You see” said Yasmin “what are we to do, she seems so wise, she doesn’t get at all excited at the things she can do, to her it is just something that is a natural part of her. Do we have the right to take it away?”They all looked to Valana, she being the matriarch. “She is truly the most gifted among us, and ultimately the final decision is yours Yasmin, but I believe, we should leave her abilities open and begin to teach her how to contain them.”Deborah sighed. “She is such a little thing, we must hope it does not overwhelm her.”Deane smiled. “Well why don’t we each take turns of staying here with Yasmin and Chloe and we can share in her growth. Of course,” she smiled at Yasmin, “that is, if you can cope with another woman in your house at all times?”“That would be wonderful, I know Chloe would love it and we could make the learning fun. We could build an extra room on the cottage and then each of you could have your own quiet space when you are here.”“Well I think that is a job for Jeremiah” said Valana. “Send for him Deborah, I’m sure he will love to spend time here while he constructs the building.”The next day Deborah told them Jeremiah was on his way, they had a strong psychic link and he had answered her message immediately. He arrived two days later. Once again they had not spoken of his coming to Chloe and the day before he arrived she began to speak of him.“Grandpa is coming soon,” she kept saying. “How do you know little one?” asked Valana, although she was certain she knew.“I can feel him, he will be here when I wake up next.”The four women looked at each other and all knew they would not be surprised if he arrived early in the morning. “There is also much we can learn from the child as we teach her.” Said Valana. “I think Yasmin, you must send to House Ramage and ask Matram to visit us. There are things we must ask him. I know some of his line have the gift but I think it is time we searched further back into his history, for there is a more powerful force at work here than just our lineage.”Yasmin’s heart was racing for she loved Matram deeply and letting him go had been the most difficult thing she had ever had to do. The fact that he was unaware of Chloe’s birth would make it that much more difficult. She had followed his progress through visions. She had sent him away as soon as she knew she was with child. He was from a great House and was expected to marry for the best alliance and not for love. What message should she send that would make him come? She would have to think on this a while.The next morning Chloe jumped from her bed excitedly. “He’s here, he’s here.” She ran to the door and threw it open just as Jeremiah walked up the path. She ran to him and jumped into his arms. “Well look at you young Chloe how big you have grown, and how beautiful you are. You will break many men’s hearts when you are grown I think.”“Oh grandpa, I’m too little for such things.” Jeremiah looked at her in surprise, for she spoke with such certainty and understanding which was astounding.The four women came out to greet him. Valana stepped forward first. “You are most welcome Jeremiah, we have need of your good sense and your carpentry skills. We have much to tell you of the little one.”Jeremiah gave a bow before her. “Good day my Lady, Deborah’s calling was enough for me to know it was of some urgency. I have made arrangements for my apprentices to continue my other works. Young Duncan will be here on the morrow to assist me with what I need, therefore we are at your disposal for as long as you need us.”Valana smiled. “As always, you have thought of everything. Let us prepare a meal and then Deborah will tell you what has been occurring.”Putting Chloe down, Jeremiah hugged Deborah, Yasmin and Deane in turn. “The women of this family are rare beauties and I call myself a lucky man to be a part of it.”After the meal Deborah and Jeremiah walked down by the stream as she told him of Chloe’s extraordinary abilities. “Valana says we must contact Matram and bring him here. I fear this is causing pain to Yasmin, both because of the way she pushed him away and because he will then know of Chloe. She understands his duty to his family and no matter what she may say, she loves him with every fiber of her being. How can we convince him he is needed here?”Jeremiah hesitated, but only for a moment. “I can help, I have had many dealings with Matram. When Yasmin sent him away he was awash with grief, he near drank himself to death. He did not care for the honor of his House. I found him three months later in a drunken stupor outside a tavern in the wrong side of the city. He was about to be set upon by brigands. I sobered him up and put him to work on one of my projects. He does not know I am Yasmin’s father and therefore I have been a good listener for him.He is a fine young man and many times he has helped me with my building projects. He likes to work with his hands, not just sit back and accept the privileges of his wealth. I will send Duncan to him with a list of materials I need and ask if he would like to help for a time. I am not entirely happy with the deception to get him here, but I feel there is no other way.Without delay all was set in motion. Upon Duncan’s arrival it was arranged that he would depart again the next day with a list of supplies and a letter to Matram. Jeremiah had explained to Yasmin how well he knew Matram and how he had arranged for him to and help. Reassuring her that he would go out to meet him and explain the truth of it all. It was the best they could do in the situation, and there was no way they could spare his feelings. Quietly Yasmin resolved herself to the fact that Matram may hate her for not telling him the truth. While they waited for Duncan and Matram to arrive, for Jeremiah had no doubt that he would come, they went about their daily business and the women began to slowly work with Chloe.There were forces at work here that were heading in a direction of their own making. This was proven to them again one evening when they were sitting before the hearth fire after their meal. Chloe was curled up on Jeremiah’s knee when suddenly she spoke. “My daddy will be here soon, won’t he?”They all looked at each other in stunned silence. Jeremiah was the first to recover. “What do you mean my pet?”“My daddy, he’s coming. I hope he likes me. He’s been very sad but now he’s happy to be seeing you grandpa.”“How do you know this my pet?” How do you know who your father is?”“The beautiful lady showed me, and now I see him whenever I want to.”They all looked stunned, the women left it to Jeremiah to ask the question. “Who is the beautiful lady, where did you meet her?”“She visits me when I’m sleeping, she said her name is Lahana and that she is from our family.”The women were staring at her in stunned silence, for the woman Chloe spoke of was the first of their line from more than 300 hundred years past. They had all in turn been presented to her, but usually not until they were in their late teens.“How long have you been visiting with Lahana little one, and what sort of things do you talk about?”She has always been with me, she tells me things about the Great Mother and things I will do when I grow up. She told me how to light the candles and other things.”“Well did you know, that mummy, Gran, Great Gran and Auntie Deane have also met Lahana?”“Oh yes, she loves to watch over us all, she is very happy we are all together now and especially that my daddy is coming. She said it will be alright mummy.” They all looked to Yasmin, her face was pale at the thought of facing Matram. She had in a sense deceived him. He had a right to know he had a child and now that he would, how was he going to react?Jeremiah lifted Chloe up, “come my pet I think it is way past your bed time, we all have a big day ahead.” Chloe kissed and hugged all of the women and Jeremiah tucked her into bed. “Goodnight sweetling.” On returning to the main room he took up his cloak. “I will head out now to meet Duncan and Matram. I would like to spend some time with him before we return to the cottage.The four women also settled down for the night, rising early next day and going about their daily routine. Yasmin could not concentrate upon anything, she dropped a dish and when it shattered into pieces she burst into tears.“Calm yourself,” said Valana. “What is meant to be will be.”Chloe came up and hugged her mother. “Come with me mummy, we will go to the stream and sit.” Once again her wisdom was astonishing. Her grasp of things and her speech were that of a much older person.They sat in the sun watching the water drift past. Yasmin became lulled into a deep state of calm, when suddenly Chloe sat up. “Daddy is here, come on, let’s go and greet him.”Just as they stood up, Jeremiah came into view and behind him were Matram and Duncan. Chloe ran straight to Matram. “You’re my daddy, aren’t you?”He knelt down and looked into her eyes. “It would seem so little one. I am very pleased to meet you.” He put his hand out to take hers, but instead she flung her arms around his neck and hugged him tightly. He was momentarily taken aback and then he returned the hug. Eventually Chloe pulled away. “Come and meet mummy. I think she is a little afraid of meeting you again.”Matram smiled, for in truth he was a little afraid himself. He had thought he would never see Yasmin again and now overnight his whole world had changed. Chloe took him by the hand and led him to where Yasmin stood. His heart almost stopped at how lovely she looked. Chloe took her mother’s hand and placed it in Matram’s, then she smiled and walked away leaving them together. She stood at the cottage door watching as they walked down to the stream, then she went inside to the others.Several hours passed before Yasmin and Matram returned. Everyone looked up in anticipation, but it was plain to see they were blissfully happy. Matram spoke for them both.“We have decided to stay together. I do not care about the obligations to my ‘House’. Let my brother be the heir, he is more interested anyway in the wielding of political intrigue. I have never stopped loving Yasmin and to know that I also have a beautiful gifted daughter is more than I could have wished for. It will take all of our combined efforts and abilities to teach Chloe to bring forth her talents.”Everyone was smiling, so happy to hear this news. No one noticed the look on Chloe’s face. Yes it was joyful but there was also a look of satisfaction as though this was the outcome that was predestined.
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